Ryanair plane seized by French authorities in row over unpaid bill

09 Novembre, 2018, 18:24 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

The dispute was caused by French subsidies paid to Ryanair for flights from Angoulême regional airport between 2008 and 2009, which the European Commission later deemed illegal.

The authority did not specify the amount owed by Ryanair.

The aviation authority called it "regrettable that the state was forced" to evacuate the plane Thursday.

France's Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGAC) said the passengers were delayed five hours but made it to their destination with a later Ryanair flight.

The plane, bound for London's Stansted airport, was grounded yesterday. "By this act, the State reaffirms its desire to guarantee the conditions for fair competition between airlines and between airports".

The French civil aviation authority did not say how much money was involved, but regional airport officials said the sum was €525,000 (£457,000).

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The plane was close to take-off when a bailiff declared it seized on the tarmac and sealed the aircraft.

The airline uses Boeing 737-800 planes, which cost £78.4 million each when new.

Last month, European Union anti-trust authorities opened an investigation into whether Ryanair benefited from measures at a German airport that give the Irish low-priced carrier an unfair leg-up over competitors.

It is the latest in a series of setbacks for Ryanair, which has recently faced a series of strikes by pilots and cabin crew across Europe.

Ryanair is also fighting an order by Italian regulators to suspend a charge for carry-on bags.

Ryanair did not publicly comment on the seizure.

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